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Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Fresno State Bulldogs: 8/29/13

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-4) at Fresno State Bulldogs (9-4)

College Football: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm (Bulldog Stadium)

The Line: Fresno State Bulldogs -8.5 --- Over/Under: 47 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN U

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights kick off their 2013 season with a difficult cross country trip to face a talented Fresno State Bulldogs team in non-conference action.

Rutgers enters season two of the Kyle Flood era and have American Athletic Conference title aspirations as the consensus is that the Scarlet Knights and Louisville will duel it out for the title.  The Scarlet Knights will need to find competent fill ins at the safety and running back spots as they lost both tailback Jawan Jamison and all big east defensive player of the year Khaseem Greene.  These two players likely won’t be replaced overnight, but the Scarlet Knights have quality players on both offense and defense who should be able to pick up the slack.  Brandon Coleman is a rangy, 6-6 wideout who continues to get better each year and is one of the top red zone threats in the nation.  On defense, look for the emergence of Darius Hamilton along the line as senior Scott Vallone graduated and the 5-star talent moves into the starting slot.  Rutgers also welcomes back Issac Holmes who missed a good chunk of last season with injury.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Fresno State Bulldogs: 8/29/13

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Fresno State enters 2013 amidst high praise as the Bulldogs return quarterback Derek Carr and a slew of other talent from an offense that ranked 12th in points scored and finished 10-4.  Carr threw for over 4,000 yards last season and tossed 37 touchdowns to only 7 picks.  Carr is within reaching distance of school records and should be able to get within reach of them by mid season.  Another key offensive target to watch is Carr’s number one pass catcher Davante Adams.  Adams hauled in 102 passes last year for a whopping 1,312 yards and 14 TD’s.  The Bulldogs return free safety Derron Smith as well -- a team leader on D, smith racked up 79 tackles last year to go along with 5 picks.  

Some trends to consider -- Fresno State is 6-0 agaisnt the spread in their past 6 home games and the under is 4-1 in Rutgers past 5 Thursday games.

Rutgers has plenty talent on defense but the worst possible scenario for a team looking to transition leadership on D with the loss of Khaseem Greene is a cross country trip to face one of the best offenses in the country.  Rutgers should keep this one close but I like the Fresno home field advantage and pass happy offense taking control as the game goes on and the Bulldogs to take this one by two TD’s.

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Fresno State -8.5

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